Posts tagged ‘mink’

2010/05/16

Furs on Film – Death of a Scoundrel

If pressed, I would have to go with Mortica Addams over Lilly Munster. That being said, in their prime, I’d give the advantage to Yvonne De Carlo over Carolyn Jones. Yvonne also had the more distinguished film career leading up to what would probably become her most iconic role. That includes this outing from the 1950s, where the decade’s affection for the fox fur stole is on direct display. Oh, and Zsa Zsa Gabor is wearing most of them, too.

Death of a Scoundrel – The Film

The film is about Clementi Sabourin (a very un-Falcon-like George Sanders), an all around jerk who, since this is thinly disguised 50’s morality play, gets his comeuppance. It doesn’t even pretend to hide that fact, since the film’s action is framed by his secretary/accomplice / quasi-love interest Bridget Kelly (De Carlo) recounting the tale of his life to police as he winds up dead in the first three minutes.  Along the way, Clementi meets, romances, and ruins a variety of well dressed ladies.

Death of a Scoundrel – The Furs

Clementi’s exploits in greed and eventual self destruction move quickly from the blue collar to the white collar, providing ample opportunity for the film’s costumers to break out classic 50’s stoles and wraps of all varieties. Interestingly, there’s not a single fur coat in the entire film.

The film’s furs are book-ended thanks to the framing device, which finds Bridget arriving to Clementi’s house in this mink stole.

The story of the titular scoundrel’s exploits leads to his first big stock market play, with Zsa Zsa Gabor the target. She’s starting out conservatively, in a mink wrap as she watches the stocks.

Fortunately that doesn’t last long. She’s initially successful thanks to the advice of Clementi, and brings him in, wearing the film’s first fox stole here at the office.

Zsa Zsa pops in for a phone call later, in this black of collar.

Clementi wouldn’t be much of a film worthy scoundrel if he had only one victim. No, he’s got lots of stuff in motion, including helping a nice lady with a rich husband towards a divorce. They dine together as she wears this fur stole.

Bridget plays “the other woman” in this other mink stole.

She ‘catches’ them and we get both in a wide shot briefly.

Zsa Zsa’s time in the film is pretty much over, but she goes out with what is probably the best fur in the entire film, this very thick black and white fox wrap.

It is, sadly, seen only briefly as she walks in and promptly removes it. A fine little gem, though.

Off to a new attempted conquest, Clementi attempts to “woo” the star of a play he helped produce. She arrives to the “party” in this white fox wrap.

This one is also sadly pretty quick, as it’s removed and only picked up as she exits, impervious to woo.

One to very much hold a grudge, Clementi orders her fired, in this longer scene in which Miss De Carlo is allowed a much better wrap, this one in black fox.

Another film short on close ups, this is the best we get of Yvonne and her black fox stole.

Fox stole/wrap #5 is also on Yvonne, towards the end of the film as Clementi is refused service at a restaurant pretty much for being a jerk.

It’s also brief and lacking in close ups, sadly.

We do get some nice clear shots of Yvonne De Carlo in the mink wrap in which she entered the film, as she leaves Clementi in a moralizing haze that practically stamps “MESSAGE” on her forehead as she speaks.

There’s 5 fox stoles or wraps in the film total, plus a collar and the minks, for those that appreciate that sort of thing. Certainly exemplary of the kind of fox fur you get in 50’s films in general and notable because there was so much of it. Granted, most of them deserved a lot more screen time than they received. The 50’s fascination with the fox stole seems like a hangover from the amazing creations of the 30’s.

Fur Runtime: approx 11 minutes
Film Runtime: 119 minutes
On-Screen Fur Ratio: 9%

Full Gallery: Fur Fashions of the 1956 Film Death of a Scoundrel

2010/04/25

Furs on Film – Times Square Lady

If you were paying attention to the last update, this one shouldn’t be a surprise. Or maybe it should be, since I actually “found the time” to do it. We return to the warm, thick fox blanket that is the 1930’s with Times Square Lady, a 1935 film staring Virginia Bruce.

Times Square Lady – The Film

Time Square Lady is the story of a Toni Bradley (Virginia Bruce), a 22 year old woman from Iowa, future home of James T. Kirk, who inherits some “business interests” from her father. Turns out very few of them are “on the level” and some of the older interests in said businesses, headed by executor of her father’s estate, Mr. Fielding, want her out. On her side, and eventual love interest, is the manager of her night club, Steve Gordon (Robert Taylor). Will Toni and Steve defeat the gangsters and live happily ever after? Of course they will, this is a film from 1935.

Times Square Lady – The Furs

Lucky for us, Toni wasn’t exactly poor before she took over dad’s businesses. From the moment we meet her to the end of the film, she’s got quite a number of furs in her wardrobe, including one of the finest examples of a silver fox fur muff ever committed to the screen.

The film opens with Mr. Fielding looking for Toni at the station. He tries two different women, both in furs, before he finds her.

Strike two…

Third times’ a charm as Mr. Fielding finds Toni, in the best fur of the bunch, of course, a lush lynx collar.

The film’s costumers must have thought Virginia Bruce looked great in lynx, and I won’t argue with that.

Fortunately, she looks even better in silver fox. Particularly this lovely example of a very large silver fox muff, one of the best I can remember.

This entire sequence is about her meeting the other interests in her father businesses, and it provides a good 3 minutes of footage of the muff and matching silver fox fur collar.

Included are a couple very nice close ups of Virginia Bruce neatly framed with the silver fox collar.

Still, the star of the sequence is the silver fox muff, and it receives all the attention it deserves.

At this point, the remainder of the film is a bit of a downward slope. Still, Virginia appears once again in lynx for a moment, with this trimmed jacket. A fine addition to the wardrobe.

Finally we get to the coat that I’ll grandfather in for the sake of being particularly complete, this full length fur that may be mink and may be a different short-haired fur. I’m open to opinions on it, and will update if there’s compelling evidence it’s not mink.

We get a tiny taste of more fox at the very end, as Toni and Steve are whisked off by steamer to the credits, standing on the deck and waving good-bye with these ladies and their fox collars.

Toni is wearing another fur here, as well, a collar that may also be mink or not, and very much is included for purely academic purposes.

A well stocked film from both the quality and the time perspectives. The oversized silver fox muff is the real highlight. I’m on the fence as to whether it eclipses the white fox muff from Lady of Burlesque. While slightly smaller and lacking tails, it certainly isn’t marred by some annoying giant silver bird broach. Virginia Bruce’s other lynx furs were fine supporting players. The “brown paper bag” furs I could take or leave, of course. The film also has a few “bit” furs, more so than was common even in this era. Clocking in with a good 15% ratio makes Times Square Lady one of the best I’ve reviewed in some time.

Fur Runtime: approx 10 minutes
Film Runtime: 68 minutes
On-Screen Fur Ratio: 15%

The full gallery is here: Fur Fashions of the 1935 film Times Square Lady.

2010/04/18

Fur on Film – Party Girl

A shortish entry today. If you were disappointed that Cyd Charisse’s character from Silk Stockings never got to wear furs, well, Cyd was a bit more fortunate in other roles. That includes this entry from 1958, Party Girl.

Party Girl – The Film

Party Girl is a late 50’s crime film about a showgirl, Cyd, becoming involved with a mob lawyer played by Robert Taylor after meeting him at a… party! Yes, they subtly worked it into the very title of the film. I don’t really have much else to say about it because that first sentence is pretty much all you need to know. Girl meets boy, boy is mobbed-up lawyer, boy regrets his actions via nagging of girl, mob politely suggests boy not go by threatening to throw acid on girls face, …, everyone lives happily ever after.

Party Girl – The Furs

Cyd plays Vicki Gaye, one of a group of showgirls that is cordially invited to a mob party. Gaye is a successful enough showgirl that she’s got a couple furs in the closet.

She’s not the only one. As the girls arrive, there’s a variety of furs on display.

Sadly the best of them, this fox, isn’t on Cyd’s character.

Vicki wears this silver fox trimmed mink coat. The trim is nice and full, and is generally shot in such a way as to make the remainder of the coat unnoticeable.

At the party she meets Tommy Farrell, mob lawyer extraordinaire, who eventually offers to escort her home, all chivalrous like. On the bad timing front, they arrive to find her roomie has committed suicide, and end up at the police station, where Tommy’s lawyer powers come in handy.

They eventually end up in a tender moment where she falls asleep on his couch and he covers her up with the silver fox trimmed coat.

Later Vicki finds out about his mob lawyer-ness and starts the nagging, confronting him his office in this fox trimmed coat.

After witnessing him in action at at trail where he successfully defends a mob goon, she ratchets up the nagging about his vocation at a bar afterward, fortunately still wearing the coat. Shot in closeup, the fur rather nicely accents Cyd’s face.

The silver fox makes one final appearance later in the film as they visit the bridge where Tommy was partially crippled as a kid. Real mood-setter, I agree.

Party Girl is… the update I posted because I didn’t finish editing the clip of Times Square Lady in time. At best, serviceable. It doesn’t shine in runtime either, really. Still, the close ups of Cyd Charisse in her two fox coats are very agreeable.

Fur Runtime: approx 7 minutes
Film Runtime: 99 minutes
On-Screen Fur Ratio: 7%

The full gallery is here: Fur Fashions of the 1958 film Party Girl.

2010/01/03

Furs on Film – The Mad Miss Manton

Time to kick off the New Year with something I’ll not be able to out-do: the best fur fashion film of all time: The Mad Miss Manton. I was wavering on that opinion because I hadn’t really seen it in a while, but now that I’ve dug through most every frame with a glistening guard hair in it, I feel I can safely end all doubt. It’s all here, quality, variety, and length. If there’s something better than this, well… I desperately want to see it.

The Mad Miss Manton – The Film

The Mad Miss Manton is somewhat a mix of genres, and perhaps that’s part of the magic that made it what is was. It’s one-half madcap heiress, one-half gentle(wo)man detective, multiplied by 1938, to the seventh power. Starring Miss Barbara Stanwyck (I have the book) as one of Hollywood’s few alliterative miss-fires, Melsa Manton, and her flock of seven fashionable friends in a murder mystery. Mesla finds a dead body in house for sale, reports it to the police, but she and her friends’ reputation as pranksters leads the police to do nothing when they arrived to find the body missing. The ladies decide to solve the case to clear their good names, which are being splashed on the editorial page of the paper by Peter Ames (Henry Fonda).

The Mad Miss Manton – The Furs

Where to begin…? Melsa and her friends swim through an ocean of furs in the film, most all of them fox in some form or another. Mink, lynx, and even ermine are ably represented as well. The fur garments come in all forms, from full length coats, to jackets, wraps, and muffs as well. It’s a virtual catalog of glorious deco fur fashions from the late 30’s.

Enter Melsa Manton. At this point Miss Manton has found the body, been blown off by the police, and suffered a scathing editorial in the paper about her “prank” written by her opposite in this scene, Peter Ames. She arrives in the film’s first fur, a dress with silver fox cuffs, a rather conservative start.

Melsa’s girlfriends don’t all appear in furs at once. We start off with… okay, here’s the deal. Melsa has seven members of her little “posse”, and, I checked, 2 of them are never called by name. This is one of them, process of elimination indicates this is either “Lee” or “Jane.” Judging by what I could find on the net, I’m calling this Ann Evers as Lee, who starts the fox train rolling with a big black fox jacket.

She throws a white fox wrap atop Myra (Linda Perry).

This leads shortly to the girls having donned their first set of sleuthing furs. This is, left to right, Kit in a white fox jacket, Helen in a silver fox wrap, Mesla in her signature crystal fox coat, Lee in the black fox stroller, and Myra holding her white fox wrap. Five large fox coats on screen at once. I can stop here, right?

Miss Stanwyck’s crystal fox coat is notable not only because it’s the largest fox in the film and lovingly documented, but from a fashion perspective, the coat is very similar to many white fox coats of the day that I’ve documented in previous updates. The broad shoulders and lack of a collar are instantly familiar. If it where white it would be a few pelts short of Irene Dunne’s famous coat from The Awful Truth.

Less visible in the previous group shot was Dora (Catherine O’Quinn) wearing an ermine jacket. There’s actually another ermine jacket in this shot as well but Helen and Lee’s fox furs are covering up Pat’s jacket.

There’s Pat (Whitney Borune) and her ermine fur jacket as the ladies investigate the abandoned house where Melsa found the body. Pat has a bit of an eating disorder that’s handled with the utmost respect and dignity by the film… or not.

This part of the film is a bit noir-ish, with the ladies moving in darkness, catching conveniently located shafts of light as they poke around the house in their large fur coats and experience a scare or two.

Later the girls continue sleuthing to their prime suspect’s house, allowing for yet another group shot.

Mesla find’s a photo of the deceased wife there, who is also wearing fur, a silver fox collared coat that she is apparently rather fond of, as we’ll learn later. Even the still photos have fur in this movie.

They find the body of their prime suspect in the apartment, but efforts to report it to the police are in vain, since the police already don’t believe them, so they drop the body off at the newspaper, which eventually leads to their “arrest”. The ladies have changed out of their sleuthing furs in to their much more conservative “being arrested” furs.

Mesla and Helen both have full length minks, while Dora does put some effort into it with a large fox collar.

Though I’m not quite as big a fan of it as her fox, here’s a nicely framed shot of Barbara Stanwyck in mink which I’m sure will be appreciated.

Later, Melsa and Helen (Frances Mercer) engage in a little solo adventure away from the rest of the posse. Sadly Melsa’s fox is MIA, but Helen keeps things interesting with her white fox wrap.

The girls reunite further along in the film with yet another selection of furs, principally notable is Myra’s fox collar and large matching fox muff.

Dora shows up later with another fox collar.

As does Mr. Ames, who is about to subdued and restrained by Melsa and her girls, one of many times that happens in this film.

Later on the street the girls are out sleuthing again in this set, with Melsa have added a short fox jacket to her wardrobe, and Pat’s silver fox stole more visible.

Again a little later and we have… another set of furs. Here Kit lays atop a lynx jacket and Helen a large silver fox muff. Everybody keeping up? There will be a quiz later…

Pat gets a bit of a solo scene on the phone with Melsa, wearing a what I’ll assume is a black fox coat accessorized nicely with the veiled hat.

Eventually we arrive at the showcase sequence for Barbara Stanwyck and her large crystal fox fur coat, where Mr. Ames pretends to be not long for this world in an effort to get Melsa to confess an important piece of evidence.

Miss Stanwyck and the fox coat are showcased perfectly here. Melsa eventually becomes wise to ruse, eliciting an expression that does not bode well for Peter Ames…

…as she liberally applies a fork to Mr. Ames buttocks. Say what you will about the film’s place in cinema history, but it is likely the only time Henry Fonda is stabbed in the butt with a fork.

That crucial piece of evidence was the location of the original deceased’s wife, Shelia Lane (Leona Maricle), who you’ll remember from the photo earlier… especially since she seems to be wearing the same silver fox collar.

As Melsa has been causing trouble for the killer and already survived attempts on her life, a plan is hatched to draw the killer out, while this plan is hatched, Melsa brings along a large black fox muff, which, sadly, is one of the furs that is not well filmed. The black fox goes great with the outfit, but not with late 30’s camera technology.

After dinner with Ames, Melsa takes this silver fox wrap on the 30’s equivalent of a dungeon crawl, heading down into the subway as she puts some of the pieces together and looks for more evidence. This is a long sequence, and she wears the silver fox almost non-stop until the end of the film.

For what it’s worth… this guy did it:

The girls show up one last time, in yet another set of furs. Myra has a silver fox collar, Dora, an ermine muff, Helen an ermine jacket and yet more as well.

The film ends with a bit of a deus ex machina, with the killer taken out in the lobby by a police sniper and no direct intervention from Melsa, Ames or any other major character. Seems someone wrote themselves into a corner. Yeah, like I care… No one is going to remember The Mad Miss Manton as a high point in filmmaking. The film is a stunning collection of fur fashions played out en masse. Whereas most of the films from this period I profile have only one fur on screen at once, this one gives us for or five at once.

Oddly, my biggest beef with the film isn’t anything to do with the furs, it’s with Miss Manton herself, who was a bit of a victim of what seemed to be “alliteration at any cost”… Melsa? What a horrible name… Apologies to anyone named Melsa… you have my sympathies. Mary… Madeline… Meghan… Michelle… so many better options. Oh, and there were no fur hats… could have used some hats.

The onscreen ratio is nothing to sneeze at.  In fact it’s in the neighborhood of the other heavyweight champion, Forever Lulu.

Fur Runtime: approx 33 minutes
Film Runtime: 80 minutes
On-Screen Fur Ratio: 41%

In honor of the occasion… this gallery is much larger than usual… about 76 total, so enjoy:

Full Gallery- Fur Fashions of The Mad Miss Manton

2009/12/06

Furs in Film – Why Did I Get Married

Film subjects of this blog have tended towards a few specific time periods. Not my fault fashion doesn’t stand still. That doesn’t mean there aren’t promising signs as we slog through a nearly 20 year drought in fine on-screen fur fashions. We have Tyler Perry to thank for this modest little reminder, which is nicely winter themed as well to go along with holiday season. So enjoy this barely 2 year old entry, it’s probably not going to happen all that often.

Why Did I Get Married – The Film

The film Why Did I Get Married is based on a play of the same name, and is set, fortunately for us all, in a luxury retreat cabin in snowy Colorado. The film is about 4 married couples and the problems they’re currently experiencing. You know what that means… talk of divorce. Yes, something in common with films from the 30’s with fine fur fashions. Granted, this one probably has a bit more nuance to the character relations than a 30’s divorce comedy. Or maybe not, as I’m probably not the person who should be grading “nuance.”

Why Did I Get Married – The Furs

The film is notable for 2 reasons, primarily the fact the furs are there at all, but also because they’re just run of the mill cold weather fashions for the affluent women wearing them. So it’s no big deal that the ladies are adorned in fox, mink, and sable as they go through their marital strife.

To get the ball rolling we have Denise Boutte in this red fox jacket. Won’t do anyone any good to bother comparing 2000’s fox coats with 1930’s fox coats, so I won’t. Pleased to be seeing this “modest” little jacket at all.

Greeting Denise and “friend” are the other wives at the retreat, led by Tasha Smith in the film’s “signature” full length silver fox coat. Sharon Leal appears in a full length mink beside her.

We have the film’s brief shot of both fox coats on screen at once.

Tasha Smith is the only one to really get more than one coat in the film, here appearing in an oddly mismatched combination of furs. The full length mink is fairly conservative compared to the silver fox.

Due to the character she plays, it’s difficult to find a close up of Tasha Smith’s character when she’s not possessed of some disdainful or exasperated look on her face, at least while she’s wearing that lovely silver fox.

The ladies go shopping later in the film, and while it’s apparent it’s not exactly a furrier, there are furs in the racks. Here we see Janet Jackson in the sable wrap she wears along with Sharon Leal in her mink once more.

Janet is still better known for her other career, but she looks very fetching in the sable, accented by a red scarf.

One more with all the furs on screen at once, Tasha and her fox, Janet in the sable, and Sharon in her mink.

The stats for this film fall into what is probably pretty “average” for fur fashions in a lot of films, so it certainly can’t be called a “fur film” for its on-screen ratio. It’s a film from 2007 with a full length silver fox coat in it, so that alone is pretty notable.

Fur Runtime: approx 8 minutes
Film Runtime: 113 minutes
On-Screen Fur Ratio: 7%

Fur Fashions of Why Did I Get Married – Full Gallery

2009/11/29

Furs in Film – The Films of The Falcon

I know what you’re thinking… I like the Lone Wolf, but what do you have in an ornithologically themed gentleman detective? Well you are in luck. Today we have the films of a gentleman (and his brother) called The Falcon. The Falcon was created by Michael Arlen in a short story in Town and Country and quickly thrown up on the screen by RKO a year later. Basically, every aspiring writer’s wet dream fulfilled by a studio looking to get into the gentleman detective film franchise business.

The Falcon – The Films

The Falcon first speedily appeared in The Gay Falcon in 1941, played by George Sanders. To quell the hysterical reaction of your collective inner twelve-year-olds, the name originated with the character’s name of Gay Lawrence. Okay, that probably didn’t help. In the original story the character’s name was Gay Falcon, which explained the name. The films fell back on using The Falcon as a nickname. Sanders  played The Falcon in 4 films, then, in The Falcon’s Brother, he passed the role to Tom Conway, who played… The Falcon’s brother, and was, in fact, George Sanders’ real life brother.

The Falcon – The Furs

The entire series was filmed in the early 40’s, but the reliable gentleman detective theme overcame the fashions of the day and provided some very nice furs. Not every Falcon film featured great furs, and no single film really rises to worthiness on its own (a couple almost make it), but taken as a group, they make for a good survey. So here’s a quick look at the fur fashions of the Falcon films.

The Gay Falcon – 1941

The Falcon came out of the gate strong with Wendy Barrie as the Falcon’s fiancée de-jour in this large white fox coat. Accented with a nice veil, the big white fox fur is well photographed for the few minutes it appears.

The Falcon ends up being a bit of a serial fiance, though Wendy would make it back for another film, this particular white fox would not. Not to worry, there’s better white fox ahead.

A Date with the Falcon – 1941

Yes, they made films quickly back then. I’m 90% certain this is Mona Maris in a red fox stole near the beginning of the film.

This sequel wasn’t the best of the bunch for furs, but Miss Maris does look fine in this fox stole.

The Falcon Takes Over – 1942

Probably the best of the bunch for 2 reasons, one, this amazing full length white fox fur coat, and two because Helen Gilbert is doing a great Veronica Lake impression.

Check out the main gallery for more of this lovely specimen. As this image suggests, Miss Gilbert is playing the bad girl. This film is actually the first adaption of Raymond Chandler’s Farewell, My Lovely.  If you want pretentious amateur film critic analysis of that, read the IMDb comments, not this blog post.

The end of The Falcon Takes Over includes what would become a standard trope of the Falcon films… someone appears to ask the Falcon for help on a new case. In this case it’s a group of showgirls, some of whom are wearing furs. Sadly, the other standard element of this trope is that it actually has nothing to do with the next film.

The Falcon’s Brother – 1942

George Sanders must have realized they weren’t going to have a better fur than the white fox in The Falcon Takes Over, so he wanted to move on. Or maybe there was another reason… In any case, The Falcon’s Brother did not carry the fur fashion momentum of the previous film and gives us only this silver fox stole worn by Amanda Varela.

The Falcon In Danger – 1943

The second best Falcon film for fur fashion, this one features a number of furs, on screen at the same time. First up is the showcase fur, a long silver fox cape worn by Amelita Ward, who is playing The Falcon’s latest main squeeze.

As the mystery unfolds, ladies in fur gather at the airport with The Falcon. Amelita and her silver fox meet up with Elaine Shepard in this full length mink coat.

Finally, by process of elimination of women listed as being in the film on the IMDb, I think this is Jean Brooks in a spotted fur collar, which would not have ordinarily been noteworthy without Miss Ward’s silver fox being in the shot.

The Falcon and the Co-eds – 1943

Another light entry, which gives us, at the very end, this actress in a short haired fur hat and muff.

Which wouldn’t really have made it either if not for being a few seconds away from the Falcon’s latest end-of-film setup as this lovely lady appears in a short fox jacket to ask for The Falcon’s help on another new case before the credits role.

The Falcon in Mexico – 1944

Much like the fur carrying showgirls at the end of The Falcon Takes Over that lady in fox isn’t in the next film, The Falcon Out West, which has only a single rather bland mink to show for it. Thankfully the next sequel has two very full fox jackets, starting with this white fox on The Falcon’s current girlfriend, who’s in this film for about a minute.

The Falcon sends his girlfriend off for the rest of the film then immediately catches this very well dressed burglar (Cecilia Callejo) in the act of breaking into a gallery to steal a painting for which she posed, wearing this large marble blue fox fur jacket.

The Falcon in San Francisco – 1945

We end on neither a high nor low point, as Fay Helm (I think) brings us this very nice silver fox fur coat as she bails the Falcon out of jail.

Fay’s a bad girl, so the silver fox is a good fit, as is her smoking at the restaurant she brings the Falcon to after bailing him out.

For a series of film from the 40’s this is a pretty good showing. Not all of them are really great, and there’s the oddball The Falcon in Hollywood (1944), which by all rights should have been the best of the bunch but was completely dry. Whatever the reason, the wardrobe requirements for the gentleman detective film took a valiant stand against the fashions of the day and we all got something good out of it.

Fur Fashions of the Films of The Falcon – Full Gallery

2009/11/08

Furs in Film – The Lone Wolf Spy Hunt

While the Thin Man series of films is ripe for inclusion on this site, the genre of “gentleman detective” was certainly not the lone province of William Powell and crew. The Lone Wolf was another, this one a jewel thief named Mike Lanyard who was featured in upwards of 20 pictures, a lot more than Nick and Nora. This incarnation was portrayed by Warren William, doing a good William Powell impression, and was released in the magical year of 1939.

The Lone Wolf Spy Hunt – The Film

The Lone Wolf, debonair jewel thief, has quit his jewel thieving ways and is settling down with girlfriend Val Carson and daughter Patrica. A gang of spies looking to swipe some plans for a new piece of anti-aircraft artillery frame The Lone Wolf for a theft in order to blackmail him into helping them. With the police aware of his past and unwilling to help, The Lone Wolf takes on the spy gang with Val’s mostly unwanted assistance. Despite having Rita Hayworth on their side, The Lone Wolf foils their plans and sends them all to the slammer.

The Lone Wolf Spy Hunt – The Furs

It’s 1939 and this is a “gentleman’s detective” film, which means it’s only slightly less likely to have amazing furs than a “madcap heiress” film. It is certainly no disappointment in that regard, as we have both Ida Lupino and a very young, pre-super-stardom Rita Hayworth in large fox coats. Ida spends most of the film in one of 2 furs, while Rita similarly, is rarely out of fur herself between a full length mink and large black fox that befits her stature as main squeeze of the spy ring leader.

This is Val Carson, Mike Lanyard’s girlfriend who supplies much of the film’s comedy. Played by a barely over 20 Ida Lupino, she spends a great deal of time in this silver fox trimmed jacket. Though not visible in this shot, a silver fox muff accompanies it usually.

There’s the muff, a lovely combination with the hat and most likely a silk blouse.

And here is Karen, played by Rita Hayworth, also barely over 20 and looking very refined in this full length short-haired coat as she prepares to crash a date between Mike and Val.

Crash she does, as Miss Lupino’s expression indicates how overjoyed she is this development.

Throughout the film Ida Lupino’s expressive face is one of the highlights, and here it is surrounded by silver fox fur.

Ida and Rita are not the only ones in fur in the film. This is Helen Lynd, playing a prospective buyer for The Lone Wolf’s completely legitimate antique business, who must deal with Val Caron’s jealous streak over her boyfriend.

Really jealous… Though perhaps not obvious from the stills, the scene is rather amusing and showcases Miss Lupio’s comic chops. Unfortunately one of the few scenes in the film where she’s not wearing fur.

Somewhere around act 3, both Ida and Rita step up the fur quality, with Miss Lupino winning handily in this white fox coat.

Briefly seen holding a cigarette in this sequence, though not actually smoking, the white fox is a classic example of the period, full, but lacking any sort of collar or cuffs, cape-like.

Not to be completely outdone, Rita and the gang show up to help her show off her black fox stroller coat. No doubt it’s black because she’s the bad girl in this flick, accented by her veiled black hat over her dark brunette locks.

To drive that point home, she and Ida share the screen, good girl in white fox, bad girl in black fox, the way the universe intended it should be.

Like Ida earlier, Rita briefly holds a cigarette but never actually does much smoking.

One more shot of the 2 together briefly, because two great foxes are always better than one.

Finally, one of the best shots of Ida Lupino’s white fox coat occurs just before “THE END”, here at the police station after The Lone Wolf’s been hauled away as his chip-off-the-ole-block daughter presents the keys to his cell.

Though certainly not the only reason this film deserves mention, it is great film for those interested in “fur runtime”. Not quite a Forever Lulu, but you certainly won’t fall asleep waiting for the next fur to show up (and hang around). In honor of The Green Fairy’s suggestion, I’ll post some “box stats” for each film from now on so people know roughly how long you’ll be enjoying fur on screen in the films I post. The Lone Wolf Spy Hunt definitely clocks into the top 3 at this point.

Fur Runtime: approx 20 minutes
Film Runtime: 71 minutes
On-Screen Fur Ratio: 28%

The Fur Fashions of the The Lone Wolf Spy Hunt Full Gallery

2009/10/18

Furs in Film – The Dolly Sisters

Films show up here for 2 reasons, what I’ve come to call “1 Epic Fur” or “Fur Overload.” 1 Epic Fur is pretty obvious, that’s the The Great Bank Hoax from last week, or the poster child of the entire “genre” The Awful Truth. Fur Overload is the Roberta‘s of film, a bunch of good stuff all in one place. Sometimes there are crossovers, such as The Dolly Sisters, which is loaded with beautiful furs, and anchored by something that would make it noteworthy if there weren’t a single other fur in the entire film.

The Dolly Sisters – The Film

The film The Dolly Sisters is a biopic of the real Dolly Sisters, who were identical twins famous for working in early film and on Broadway in the early 19th Century. Though the original sisters were identical twins (and brunettes), there wasn’t a spare Betty Grable laying around so in the film, the sisters aren’t quite so identical. June Haver fills in as the other sister, and she looks quite a bit like Betty, though no one is going to confuse the two. The film traces their rise from Hungarian emigrants to stardom, though the ending is a bit happier than it was in reality, especially for Jenny Dolly.

The Dolly Sisters – The Furs

This film is full of great fur fashion, though one particular piece does stand out above all the rest. Since it’s better to save it up for the end, so to speak, I’m going to run through the furs outside of the film’s chronological order. I’m also going to shamelessly add something that I know isn’t really fur, but looks pretty good nonetheless. The Dolly Sisters is well stocked all around, in terms of both the stars and supporting characters in lovey foxes and another furs.

We do open somewhat chronologically with the Sisters Dolly, Betty Grable and June Haver, doing a little command performance set up by Uncle Latsie (S.Z. Sakall playing the “S.Z. Sakall role”). Yes, those are feathers, not fur, but ultimately they’re meant to be evocative of fur, and they’re nice and big, and pastel, so I’m including them.

This film is interesting in that Betty Grable doesn’t show up in gray fox, something her costume designers saw fit to wrap her in many times over her film career (Moon over Miami, Down Argentine Way, etc.). Gray fox does make an appearance in this reasonably short sequence.

As the Dolly sisters grow in prominence, they do some shows in Paris. These ladies appear as part of the opening to one of their stage performances. Not sure why they decided to divorce the cigarette holder from the white fox stole.

The sisters, successful, return home in these heavily mink trimmed coats. When the “trim” is the entire sleeve, that’s trim I can love. The big shawl collars are a perfect match.

This is Jenny Dolly’s love interest Harry Fox (John Payne), and her romantic rival in the story, Lenora Baldwin (Trudy Marshall), tastefully outfitted in a fox stole the likes of which probably wasn’t all that common for the time period, but these are the kind of anachronisms I enjoy the most.

We’re going to skip to the happy ending of the film for a moment, where many Jenny and Harry reunite at the big show. Here’s the show’s MC, who’s got an excellent white fox collar going on there.

Lenora holds onto Harry, oblivious that she’s about to lose this little romantic entanglement. It’s hard to tell here, but she’s wearing a black fox stole over her arm.

Better close up of the MC’s fox collar. No, can’t remember who this is, but she wears “giant white fox collar” well.

Close up of Trudy Marshall as Lenora, with the black fox stole on her shoulder this time.

Here’s the best shot of the stole and the collar together. The black fox stole has a full three tiers, very nice and full, and makes for a nice juxtaposition to the big white fox collar.

And here we are, the reason The Dolly Sisters would be on this site if there weren’t a single other fur in the film. This coat is technically only “trim” but this is my favorite kind… the kind where is damn hard to tell it’s only trim.

Fortunately the director of photography was obviously no dummy, and set up this shot just to show off this beauty in its entirety. As you can see, it is in fact an enormous set of white fox cuffs and huge fox collar, backed up by the trim along the sweep of the coat.

Closer now, the ¾ shot gives us the perfect view of the best part of this coat, the collar and cuffs in all their silky white glory.

This part of the film chronicles a real incident in Jenny Dolly’s life, a car accident in 1933. Perhaps the date explains the giant white fox coat.

In the movie Jenny loses control of the car and she, and this amazing white fox coat, careens over a cliff. In the movie she awakens later with a band-aid on her face.

In the film, Jenny Dolly recovers fully and reunites with her man at the show with the MC and her white fox collar shown earlier above. The Dolly Sisters is a musical from 1945, so happy endings were pretty much mandatory. The reality was that after the wreck and the subsequent set of surgeries (not just a band-aid), the real Jenny Dolly hung herself in her hotel room in 1941. Yeah, that would have been a bit of a downer ending for a big budget musical, so they played around a little with the facts. Historical inaccuracies aside, the film provides a great showcase for fur fashion, and the massive white fox trimmed coat from Jenny’s accident is one of the best you’ll find anywhere.

Full Gallery – Fur Fashions of The Dolly Sisters

2008/11/20

Furs in Film – Love is News

Going from a famous, Oscar-winning films to something a bit more out-of-the-way. Like today, there was no shortage of cinematically pedestrian films produced in the 30’s. The studio system churned out film after film, and not all of them were destined for greatness, a fact the studios were well aware of. Fortunately, even these films were not lacking in the wardrobe department.

Love Is News – The Film

To demonstrate how otherwise unnoticeable this film was, it doesn’t even have a Wikipedia page of its own. In 1937’s Love is News, Loretta Young stars as Toni Gaston, who is one of the cinema’s most reliable creations for big fur wardrobes: an heiress. Pursued by reporter Steve Layton (Tyrone Power), Toni decides to strike back by announcing the two are engaged to be married and giving the “scoop” to everyone but Layton. Toni and Steve, naturally, end up falling in love and living happily ever after around 60 minutes later.

Love Is News – The Furs

Though the plot and film aren’t particularly noteworthy, the furs of 30’s heiress Toni Gaston are. She doesn’t quite give Miss Manton a run for her foxes, but she puts in a good effort nonetheless.

Steve Layton opens hostilities by tricking Toni into an interview upon arrival at the airport. She and gal pal Lois Westcott (Pauline Moore) both wear furs. Toni starts off slow in a rather conservative mink, while Lois gets the signature high lynx collar.

Lois uses her collar as a rather effective face mask to fool the rest of the press, until she’s found out when almost to the waiting taxi.

On the plane, Layton gets the interview with Toni, who smokes elegantly in her mink.

Lois, enacting her revenge for the airport deception, announces their fake betrothal in a silver fox trimmed wrap.

A car chase and jail time ensues, during which the multi-tiered silver fox trimmed wrap is filmed nicely. Here Miss Young speaks to her arresting officer, unable to convince him to let her go. Stern guy.

The back of the silver fox fur trimmed wrap, showing off the high collar and middle tier of fur while Toni appeals to the judge.

Lovely closeup of Loretta Young framed by the silver fox collar on the wrap. She is unable to convince the judge to let her go. Stern judge, too.

Later in the film Toni turns up in the best fur of the film, a sumptuously full white fox coat. Not quite The Awful Truth, but a lovely white fox coat nonetheless.

The white fox fur lacks a collar worthy of the huge frame, but still it is a beautiful, full coat that looks lovely on Miss Young.

With a white fox like that, she has reason to smile.

Finally, during the inevitable break up phase that occurs before the inevitable reconciliation, Loretta catches Steve making a movie of their sordid non-affair. She storms onto the set in a coat with a huge fox collar, one that would have been perfect for the white fox before it.

Again, framed by fox fur, Loretta Young sparkles.  Strange head gear though.

Though she storms off the set, she does so in high style thanks to the full, broad fox collar.

Love is News may never be considered a particularly noteworthy contribution to cinematic history, but the furs within are certainly worthy of appreciation. Loretta Young is beautiful in the mink and fox coats, with an able, if brief, assist by Pauline Moore and her big lynx collar. Sadly, the size of the full white fox coat and the later fox collar weren’t combined, but otherwise Love is News is a solid way to appreciate fur fashion in film.

Fur Film Gallery – Love is News

2008/10/23

Furs on TV – Another World

“Another” from the “Back Catalog”

Like ships passing in the night, SoapNet’s programming schedule and my best days of capping were not destined to meet up at the appropriate time. Those early days of a schedule permeated with 80’s nighttimes soaps did help hone my skills. Unfortunately they weren’t what they are today.

This doesn’t mean I don’t have a large back catalog from that time that, by virtue of the fact it will probably never be updated, I’ll throw out from time to time. The Paper Dolls gallery was one such example.

Another World – The Show

Between about 2003 and 2007, SoapNet showed Another World. Only somewhat fortunately, they decided to start showing episodes starting from 1987. That provided a decent couple years before the combination of a waning fashion cycle propelled by a changing cultural zeitgeist that would make the 1990’s a barren wasteland of televised fur fashion from which we still have not completely recovered.

Another World ran from 1964 to 1999, I’d have preferred SoapNet pick out something around 1975 to 1990, but I have to accept what I get, and it wasn’t bad, as the caps will prove. Like anything that lasted upwards of 30 years, the details are long and complex, so I’ll skip trying to fill in the plot and get to what we’re here for….

Another World – The Furs

These are in roughly chronological order in the sequence the episodes were shown in. I can’t place a fur to an episode name or number at this point. In the few years they showed Another World, I grabbed good shots from only about 17 episodes, a very tiny fraction compared to shows like Dynasty. Again, the fact that any of these beauties showed up on television so close to the 90’s was blessing enough.

Starting here with the recognizable member of the cast, a very young Anne Heche wearing a perfect example of a “mega fox,” this one crystal flavor. Youthful Miss Heche wears it very well.

Moving to another great white fox stroller on actress Joanna Going. The sleeves of the stroller are exceptionally full here.

80’s hair and 80’s fox on this lady. I think her hair manages to be fuller than the fox fur coat, which is actually quite an accomplishment.

Linda Dano, “Felicia,” wearing a huge power fox, golden isle flavor. If Another World was showing furs like this so late in the game, I certainly wonder what amazing ones I missed through the 80’s.

Wide shot lacks a little detail due to the low data rates I worked with back then, unfortunately, but this one deserves a second look to show the sheer size of the full length fox beauty.

Joanna Going in a shorter haired mink or marten. Though I usually pass on “documenting” the less full furs, the brighter colors of one like this can make it worthy of notice.

Anne returns in another mega fox, this one blue. She looks equally at home in this as the previous crystal fox.

Nice close up of Anne Heche in the blue fox power fur.

Not sure who this blond is, though she is appropriately outfitted in the kind of big fox coat that reminds me why I miss the 80’s.

Carmen Duncan playing Iris in a blush fox trimmed blush mink jacket.

Joanna Going is back for a Christmas episode in this big white fox wrap. Christmas was always a giving time of season back then.

Linda Dano in an interesting and rather tall fur pillbox hat. Should have “accessorized” with a giant white fox coat, but time was growing short for fur at all on Another World at this point.

All wasn’t completely gone, though, as series mainstay Victoria Wyndham appears in yet another full length power fox.

Though not on the show for more than a few years, Joanna Going racked up an impressive score, appearing here in a very full silver fox stroller coat.

And with Miss Wyndham in this set, which is a pretty much where Another World‘s wardrobe department basically gave up against the unrelenting tide of the 90s. Granted, this was a very fine pair to go out on.

In all, this set just keeps my fingers crossed for what will probably be inevitable, some kind of 80s soap nostalgia network. I think SoapNet claimed to be working on something like that. If it ever appeared, it would be a bit of a double edged sword, as it may generate more “work” than I’m prepared for. But that would be one of those “good problems to have.”

If nothing else, this set will win you an argument if your friends says “No way Anne Heche wore enormous fox fur coats!”

Here’s the full gallery, biggest one yet at 40 pics: Another World Fur Gallery.